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Do We Literally Eat Christ’s Flesh and Blood?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
The Truth Network Radio
June 11, 2021 6:30 am

Do We Literally Eat Christ’s Flesh and Blood?

Core Christianity / Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

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June 11, 2021 6:30 am

Episode 726 | Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier answer caller questions.

Show Notes

CoreChristianity.com

1. Lots of people talk about the topic of God’s sovereignty as it relates to if we choose God or if God chooses us, but I am wondering if this truth is good news to those who are suffering or does it add to their pain, knowing that God allowed it to happen? Should we not mention it at all to those who are experiencing suffering?

2. What does the term “unconditional election” mean?

3. Is purgatory still taught and preached in the Catholic Church? If it is, does it exist and is that taught in the Bible or is that a false teaching and is there no existence of purgatory? Could you point me to the scriptures on this?

4. In John 6:53, when Jesus talks about eating his flesh and drinking his blood, can you explain what this means, and if it is symbolic or literal?

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When Jesus said we must eat his flesh and drink his blood, what does he mean? That's just one of the questions we'll be answering on today's edition of CORE Christianity. Well, hi there.

Happy Friday. This is Bill Meyer, along with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. And this is the radio program where we answer your questions about the Bible and the Christian life every day. You can call us right now with your CORE.

That's 1-833-843-2673. You can also post your question on one of our social media sites. You can watch us right now on YouTube and message us that way. And you can always email us your question at questionsatcorechristianity.com. First up today, let's go to a voicemail we received from one of our listeners.

Good news for people. You know, if God is in control of allowing evil and suffering to happen, how is that comforting to one who is suffering, who has experienced the worst tragedies that, you know, this world and life has to offer? I realize that others would think it's much more reasonable and comforting if, you know, God just wasn't in control at all and didn't allow this to happen.

Thanks. That's a great question and a super pastoral question because the fact of the matter is it relates to how we talk to, how we speak to those who are experiencing suffering and then how we think about it in our own lives. And I don't know if you've heard this before, but oftentimes, you know, some someone will go through something very difficult and the way in which others, you know, sincere Christians will try to comfort them as they'll say, oh, you know, God, God is just in heaven. And he's just he's just as upset as you are in the sense of, you know, it's almost as if God was caught off guard.

You know, he he just can't believe that this happened to you, that kind of a thing. The danger with that is, you know, we're trying to be comforting in a situation like that. But the question is, who's stronger here? You know, the suffering that we experience, the evil even that we experience, or God who is in heaven.

Is God in heaven just sort of up there with his hands tied? And is that really comforting to tell someone that, you know, the reality is, I think that would actually lead to more fear. And so we have to be really careful. And ultimately, we just have to be biblical. And I would say that the doctrine of God's sovereignty is very much so comforting because we know that God is in control. Now, we don't understand why God oftentimes allows things to happen.

And and frankly, we don't need to give, you know, why answers to particular situations. We won't know oftentimes until we're in the presence of the Lord. God gives us language to use when we're going through those very difficult times in life and we don't understand what's going on. It's called the Psalms of Lament. We can cry out to the Lord like the people of God have done historically, saying, God, you know, where are you?

That kind of a thing. And and trusting in him, waiting upon him. But God's sovereignty in the midst of our suffering should be a comforting doctrine. And I guess that one text of scripture that I would go to is in the book of Acts, Acts chapter four. And this is a prayer by the disciples as they're experiencing suffering. They're being persecuted for their faith in Jesus.

You know, they probably are wondering, am I going to die? And many of them would go on to die for their faith in Christ. But listen, listen to this prayer, Acts chapter four, beginning in verse twenty seven, for truly in this city, there were gathered together against your holy servant, Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness while you stretch out your hand to heal.

And signs and wonders are performed through the name of your your holy servant, Jesus. So we think about this, that they're in the midst of of suffering for the faith. And yet they're conscious of the fact that everything that happened to Jesus, the sufferings that he experienced, were a part of God's sovereign plan.

Now, does that justify the people who murdered Jesus? No, they're still accountable. They're held responsible.

We are all held responsible for our actions. And yet somehow God uses even our free choices to accomplish his sovereign purposes. And so God is bigger than we think.

He's bigger than us. And in the midst of suffering, we can fall back on that reality on him, knowing that he is the sovereign Lord and that he is able to make all things work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. That's what Paul says in Romans chapter eight.

Again, in the context of intense suffering, he writes about what the believers were experiencing, famine, nakedness, peril, sword, persecution. And yet he says in all these things were more than conquerors through him who loved us. God is able to make all things work together for the good of those who love him.

Why? Because he's sovereign, because he's all powerful, because he's in control. And so it is, I believe, a very comforting doctrine to know that God is the great king and we can trust in him. We may not always understand why he allows the things that he allows, but friends, he's good and he knows our suffering. He sent his son Jesus to assume humanity so that he might sympathize with us in our weaknesses, the author of the Hebrew says. And so you can go to him in prayer and receive comfort from him. Thank you for that question. Such an important question and something I think that many of us in the church, we try to offer comfort, we try to offer solace to people who are going through difficult times, and we want to make sure we're not just giving, you know, pablum rote responses when someone's suffering, right?

Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. And sometimes, you know, the right response is just to weep with someone. You know, there are times where the best thing to do is to come alongside of someone and to, like the apostle Paul said, weep with those who weep, mourn with those who mourn. And this doesn't mean that there isn't a place for speaking the comfort of God's word into an individual's life. But the truth is, a lot of times we don't have specific answers as to why I received this diagnosis or why this horrible thing happened to me.

We don't know. We know that God is sovereign, we know that God is good, but we don't always know why God allowed the things that he allows to happen in our lives. And so we have to continue to cling to him and to put our hope in him and to lament when it's appropriate.

And so sometimes that's the proper response, Bill, is just lamentation. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. If you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, our phone lines will be open for the next 15 minutes or so. Here's the number to call. It's 833-THE-CORE. That's 1-833-843-2673.

Let's go to Mike in Kansas City, Missouri. Mike, what's your question for Pastor Adriel? Hi, thank you for taking my call. I've heard this term, unconditional election, from my pastor, and I haven't talked to him about it yet, but I was wondering if you could... What does it mean if I'm not elected or unconditionally not elected?

If there's unconditional election, what does it also mean to be not elected? Could you explain that? And I'll listen off the air. Thank you.

Hey, Mike. Well, one, I'm just glad that you are having conversations with your pastors. And I would encourage you, we always want to encourage people to talk to their pastors as well. It sounds like your pastor is getting into some good theology there, some deep theology. And we're talking about unconditional election, a phrase that's sometimes thrown around. We're talking about God's sovereign choice of his people.

This is something that we see in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. I think in the Old Testament, places like the book of Deuteronomy, where God says, it wasn't because you were greater than any other nation that I set my love on you, that I chose you. You were fewer than all the nations, Gus, and yet it was because of my promises, because of my love.

That's why I set my love on you. This unconditional choice of his people there, speaking of the nation of Israel in places like the book of Deuteronomy, as I said. And the fact that it's unconditional, what that highlights is simply that God doesn't choose on the basis of our merits. It's not that God chose Israel, like in that passage I was just referring to, it's not that God chose Israel because she was the mightiest nation, because she was the holiest nation, because she was just really seeking after God, and so God said, okay, I'm going to choose you to be my people.

No, it was unconditional. God set his love on them because he chose to. Now, we see this also in the New Testament. I think of what the apostle Paul said in Ephesians chapter 1, beginning in verse 3.

Listen to this. He's really praising God here. This is a blessing that he speaks over the Lord, worshipping God. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love. There you have that love again, that particular love that God sets on his people. In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the beloved. You see this in the Old Testament. You see this in Ephesians chapter 1.

Another place that people will oftentimes go to is the book of Romans in Romans chapter 9, where it talks again about God's sovereign choice. In particular, the context there is Paul is dealing with this issue, with what looked like a problem. Christ came, and many of his own rejected him.

So what's going on? Did God's own people fail? He's sort of explaining what it means to be a child of God, and he talks about God's sovereign choice there as well. Brother, you brought up something else. You said, well, what does it mean if you're not chosen?

I get the concern and fear that you might have because I had that fear as well. I remember when I first started being confronted with passages like this, Ephesians chapter 1, where it talked about in him you were predestined. He set his love on you. He chose you, wondering, well, what if God didn't choose me? That's the question that immediately gets asked.

Here's what I would say. One, we know that all people are responsible, that God calls all people everywhere to repent. The free offer of the Gospel is this real offer that goes out into the world to everyone. God calls us to preach the Gospel to all people. You think of the great commission that Jesus gave to his disciples.

Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. When an individual is concerned about this, God, did you choose me? The question is, do you have faith in Jesus Christ? Do you believe in him? If you're even concerned about that, I think that right there by itself is a sign, brother, that God is at work in your life, that God has drawn you to himself.

It's a sign that the Spirit of God is working in you. We have to hold these things together. We have God's sovereign choice. What we see in Ephesians 1, what I just read, but we also have the responsibility of all mankind. Those are two truths that we see in scripture. We also need to recognize that God is not obligated to save anyone, that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, that we've turned our backs on the Lord. It really is God's mercy that he chooses to save any.

We oftentimes don't realize this. We just think that we deserve salvation, that God owes it to us. Brothers and sisters, God is the sovereign king of the universe, and we have sinned against him. We don't deserve his love, and yet he sets his love upon us.

No one can boast. No one can say it was because I was righteous or holy or good or perfect. No, it was this unconditional choice that God made. Again, we're talking about some deep stuff here, but that's the best approach.

You look at these passages of scripture, you let them stand alone, and what they say very clearly is that God does choose his people for salvation unconditionally, and yet that all mankind is responsible. So we hold these things together, and we let the scripture speak to us, and we yield to them in submission because this is God's holy word. Thank you for your question. Amen.

What a great explanation. Adriel, thank you for that. This is Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez, and if you have a question about the Bible or the Christian life, you can call us for the next 10 minutes or so. Here's the phone number. It's 833-THE-CORE.

You might want to make a note of that for future reference. 833-THE-CORE, which translates into 833-843-2673. By the way, you can also call us and leave a voicemail 24 hours a day even over the weekend if you want. If you've got a question, if something comes to mind, you say, Oh, I want to ask Pastor Adriel about that. Just call that number and leave your voicemail. Maybe let us know also where you're calling from.

That would be helpful. And right now, let's go to a question that we had come in via voicemail. This one deals with the doctrine of purgatory.

Hi. I just got a question about purgatory, and I believe that was a false doctrine that was preached or is still possibly preached in the Catholic Church. I guess a couple questions. Is it still taught in the Catholic Church, and does it exist? Is it taught in the Bible, or is that a false teaching, and is there no existence of purgatory?

Thank you. Thanks for that question. So it is a doctrine that is still taught in the Catholic Church, this doctrine of purgatory. And purgatory is this sort of place of cleansing or purgation, according to the Catholic Church, where an individual will go who still has some cleaning up to do, if you will, before they enter into the presence of God. Now, I don't think there's evidence for the doctrine of purgatory in the Scriptures.

Sometimes people will point to extra biblical works, old extra biblical works, and say, this is kind of where we start to see these ideas. But I don't think it's a doctrine that we get from the Holy Bible. Typically, when I think about what the apostles say happens at an individual's death, it seems like they're saying, look, once we die as Christians, when we're in Christ, when we die, we immediately go into the presence of the Lord. You see this from the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 5, verse 8. He says, yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please Him. He says, look, when we're out of this body, when we're in what we sometimes refer to as the intermediate state, when our bodies go down into the ground and our souls go to be with the Lord, we're in the presence of God, and there's joy there. This is why Paul says he really wanted to go and be in the presence of Christ. He talks about this in Philippians chapter 1, where he's thinking about his death, his soon death, and he says, look, as he writes to the Philippians, I don't know what to choose.

I want to depart and be with Christ because that's far better, but I know that if I stay here on earth, it's going to be beneficial for you guys so that I can continue to serve you and to preach to you. But still, he recognizes that when he dies, he's going to go and be with the presence of the Lord. So I would say this is actually a great hope that we have as believers, that because we're justified by faith in Jesus Christ, we are clean. We don't get into heaven on the basis of our own inherent righteousness. We get in on the basis of the righteousness of Jesus Christ that's given to us. It's really important stuff, especially because it relates to that future hope that we have.

So I think it's important that we get this right and that we look to what the scriptures say. You're listening to Core Christianity with Pastor Adriel Sanchez. When you're driving around this summer with your kids, maybe heading out on a road trip, we want to offer you a wonderful CD that families can listen to in the car or they can listen to it at home as part of a family devotional time. Yeah, this CD put together, done by the Gettys, and I just love the Gettys. If you're familiar with the hymn, In Christ Alone, they're responsible for that wonderful hymn. And this CD, Even Song, is just a number of songs, actually, that I think they would sing to their children. I mean, it's a great sort of family worship CD. If you have, as Bill was saying, any road trips coming up, last year my family went to Utah. We did a great big road trip, so we made sure we had some good CDs with us, a good playlist to listen to music with the kids that would be edifying and uplifting.

That's exactly what this is. Get a hold of this resource, Even Song. It's yours for a donation of any amount. All you have to do is go to our website at corechristianity.com forward slash offers to find that Even Song CD. That's corechristianity.com forward slash offers.

Or you can call us for that offer or any one of our offers at this number, 833-843-2673. Again, that number is 833, the core. Let's go to a voicemail we received from one of our listeners.

Hey, Pastor Agile, this is Sam calling from Nebraska. I just have a quick question on John 653 and after about when Jesus talks about eating his flesh and drinking his blood and whatnot. I know that that's their symbolism and whatnot in there. Just wondering if you could possibly explain that segment in John chapter 6, how to look at it literally, I guess, and whatnot. If you could just explain it, I'd appreciate it. Thank you.

Have a great day. Yeah, I mean, what a powerful passage of Scripture. So the context here is there's a crowd that is coming to Jesus. This crowd is the same crowd that Jesus had just fed earlier in John's Gospel. He multiplied bread. He fed them. So they're following him around because they want another meal. They want to see another miracle.

Jesus sort of flips the script on him. He says, look, I know why you're looking for me right now. You want another meal. You're looking for bread. But let me just tell you, you need to labor for the bread that endures to eternal life, not just the physical bread that you eat and satisfies you for a moment. You need the bread which God wants to give you. And then Jesus says this shocking statement. He says, I am the bread of life.

Now, that's when he gets into this discussion about, you know, you need to eat my flesh and drink my blood. And the crowd there in John chapter 6 is they're very confused. In fact, some of them are disturbed and many of them turn back from following Jesus.

They just think, OK, we're done. He didn't make us more bread. What's interesting is in John chapter 6, the eating and drinking is also parallel to believing. In John chapter 6, verse 35, Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me shall not hunger. Whoever believes in me shall never thirst. If you go down to verse 47, truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

And then again, note how similar the language is. In verse 54 of John chapter 6, whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life. So eating and drinking the body and blood of Jesus Christ is parallel here to believing, to coming to Jesus, to receiving his grace.

You cannot have the life of Christ in you apart from faith. And yet, you know, it's interesting because later, you know, in the ministry of our Lord Jesus, he would institute that meal, the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, and he would say, this is my body given for you. This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for the forgiveness of many.

So again, very similar language there. Now, my view is that these elements, you know, bread and wine are these very real signs that Jesus gives to us, that communicate to us, that convey to us his saving work, his benefits, the benefits of his salvation, really his body and blood. Now, it's a sort of a mystery how we receive that, but it's by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

In fact, I think Jesus made this absolutely clear later in John in his Upper Room Discourse when he talked about how he was going to be leaving the disciples. He said, look, I'm going to send the Spirit. The Spirit is going to be with you.

The Spirit is going to communicate my presence to you. And so, brothers and sisters, we have communion with the body and blood of Jesus, not in that the bread and the wine are transformed into something that they weren't before, into the literal physical body of Jesus and the literal physical blood of Jesus. But somehow, through these signs that Jesus gave to us, by faith, we have communion with the body and blood of Jesus. The word that the apostle Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 10 is the word koinonia. We have communion, koinonia, with the body of Jesus, with the blood of Jesus.

By faith in Jesus. And so I don't want to downplay that, because sometimes we can just say, oh, communion is just a symbol. It's not that big of a deal. But it's more than just a symbol. It's this sign that God gives to his people to convey his grace, to communicate his presence, his blessing to his people. And so we should take it very seriously. This is why Paul says, later in 1 Corinthians, this is why many of you in Corinth, he was speaking about, are weak and sick and some have even died. Because when you gather around the Lord's table, you're doing it disrespectfully, clinging to your sin, not believing, unbelieving. And so God would judge them.

This is a very serious thing. And so, brothers and sisters, I think it's so important for us to grasp the words of our Lord Jesus here. He is the bread of life. And let me just say, just like the crowd there in John 6, I think there are a lot of people that go to Jesus because they want the goods that he gives, the physical sustenance, God. I'm here because you provide my daily bread, and that's what I want.

And we seek God just for those things. Jesus wants us to know, he wants you to know, I'm the bread of life. More than anything, what I want to give you is myself, my life, my grace. Too many people go to Jesus, go to God, simply because they think that he's just going to bless them. I just want to live a blessed life.

I want to live my best life now, that kind of a thing. And if I go to God, he's going to give me health, wealth, riches, those things. That's what the crowd wanted in John 6.

Just give us more physical food. And Jesus said, you know what the point is? You know what the point of that miracle was? It was to show you that I am the bread of life. Do you know the bread of life, Jesus? Have you received that bread of life by faith? If you haven't, friends, Jesus has come to me. And he has this wonderful offer.

It's the offer of himself for your salvation to receive by faith. Thanks for listening to CORE Christianity. To request your copy of today's special offer, visit us at corechristianity.com and click on offers in the menu bar. Or call us at 1-833-843-2673. That's 833-THE-CORE. When you contact us, please let us know how you've been encouraged by this program. And be sure to join us next time as we explore the truth of God's Word together.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-05 22:04:37 / 2023-11-05 22:15:17 / 11

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